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UTSC Library Finance & Trading Lab

Learn the fundamentals of financial research & analysis.

Introduction to Company Research

Table of contents

  • Public vs. Private company information
  • Public Company Filings
  • Private Company Information
  • Company Profiles
  • Real-Time Data Applications

Public vs. Private Companies

What's the difference between publicly- and privately-held companies?

Privately-held companies are - no surprise here - privately held. This means that, in most cases, the company is owned by the company's founders, management or a group of private investors.

Public Company Filings

Public companies are listed on stock exchanges, and have regulatory requirements to disclose their financial and operational information with shareholders on a regular basis. 

Annual and Quarterly Reports (also known as: 10K and 10Q)

  • Business Description
  • Risk Factors
  • Market
  • Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A)
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Disclosures about Market Risk
  • Forward Looking Statements and Estimates

Press Releases (also known as Material Events or 8Ks)

  • Any news or event that shareholders need to know about.
  • Includes: public offerings, M&A, changes in executive structure, changes in board of directors, bankruptcy, etc.

Information Circulars (Also known as Proxy Statement or DEF14A)

  • Any information shareholders would need to vote on (M&A deal, new executive/board member, etc). 
  • Board Member and Executive Team Biographies
  • Compensation Data
  • Shareholder Voting Procedures

Download Public Company Filings

  • Company Website
    • Search the "Investor Relations" or "About Us" pages
  • EDGAR (US-listed companies)
    • Search filings for US-listed companies.
  • SEDAR (Canadian-listed companies.
    • Companies are listed alphabetically. Click on the appropriate letter > Click on the company name > Click "view this company's public documents."

What are Financial Statements?

Financial statements are a picture of a company's financial health for a given period of time at a given point in time. The statements provide a collection of data about a company's financial performance, its current conditions and its cash flow.

Private Company Information

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Company Profiles

Company profiles include:

  • Key facts
  • Business description
  • History
  • Key employees (biographies, experience, education)
  • Products/services
  • SWOT analysis
  • Key competitors
  • Locations

Download company profiles: 

Real-Time Data Applications

Access information on thousands of public & private companies, markets, deals and executives, including:

  • Company filings and financials
  • Historical data
  • Transactions (debt, equity, M&A)
  • Screen for companies to meet your investment criteria